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Health-food store, costume shop, opening on East End

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Some healthy food and a little magic. Both are making their way to Charleston's East End.

HUSH, an organic health-food store, is now open in the 1500 block of Washington Street East. Next door, in the space where the Book Exchange used to be, Magic Makers Costumes plans to open soon.

HUSH, which stands for "Helping us heal," offers herbs and vitamins, as well as organic produce, exotic salts and beauty products, among other things.

Owner Danelyah Mitchum opened the store a month ago. She hopes the store will help fill a gap in Charleston's East End, which does not have a grocery store.

The store will offer a variety of organic produce, including pineapples, grapes, bananas, apples, oranges, ginger root, tomatoes, lemons and avocados.

Mitchum plans to also offer milk, eggs and meat. Right now, the customer base is not big enough for her to sell perishable products. The store does offer almond, coconut and soy milk.

Ric Cavender, executive director of East End Main Street, is working with both businesses. He expects each to do well on the East End.

Cavender said he is still working on getting a grocery store on the East End, and added that HUSH is a step in the right direction and will fill a need for organic food and natural products.

But HUSH is more than just a grocery store, Mitchum said. For her, it's a passion.

"I have a passion for health and helping people be healthy," she said.

Mitchum, who formerly owned Mrs. Winkles restaurant in the East End Shopping Plaza, has been interested in organic health food and herbs since she was 18.

"I went from thinking that I had to treat something [with pills] for the rest of my life to healing my body," she said. "Really, you can feel better. You don't have to slave over pills, and I think that's what a lot of us do."

A near-death experience during her childhood gave her an appreciation for life. She survived a gunshot to the head. Physicians had told her family she wouldn't survive.

The experience also gave her an appreciation for the power of God, she said.

God made her body, as well as natural remedies that help her to heal, she said. Mitchum learned much from older people who told her about natural remedies.

"There are natural remedies that God put on the earth," Mitchum said.

Ken Epperly, co-owner of Magic Makers Costumers, plans to open the Charleston store next week if his city business license comes through on time, he said.

Magic Makers has been in downtown Huntington for 28 years.

During Halloween, Magic Makers opens a space in the Charleston Town Center and at locations in Parkersburg, Ashland, Ky., and New Boston, Ohio. Epperly plans to keep opening up the Town Center Halloween location as long as the mall has space for it.

The store is not just for Halloween, though.

"It's a whole different market during the rest of the year," Epperly said.

Recently, for instance, a Mardi Gras party kept his Huntington location busy with people wanting masks. The month of March is typically a busy time for Dr. Seuss-inspired costumes.

"What's going on in here depends on what's going on in the world," he said.

Epperly said Charleston's theater groups and productions likely would keep the store busy.

Besides costumes, Epperly said, Magic Makers sells 17,000 products that include magic tricks, makeup, wigs and hats.

"It's a fun place to visit year-round," he said. "That's a slogan we used to use."

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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